We all know Armando Galarraga was on the way out. It was just a matter of who would pony up with the best offer in return. Well, I suppose we don't really know that. There is a possibility the Tigers simultaneously tried to find him a good situation. With the destination they found, though, it seems like maybe a win-win for Galarraga and the Tigers.
The Diamondbacks were said to pursue Galarraga pretty aggressively. That would seem to suggest they were probably offering the best package and for Galarraga, it very well may mean a spot in the Diamondbacks' rotation. Let's be honest, though. Now that Galarraga is out of the organization and in a situation even his biggest fans have to concede is likely a better fit for him, most of us turn our attention to how this affect the Tiger organization.
First of all, the Tigers are off the hook for any portion of Galarraga's $2.3 million salary. So we don't have to concern ourselves with paying 1/6th or a 1/3rd of his salary after such and such a date. The Tigers also received two pitchers in return, Kevin Eichhorn and Ryan Robowski.
Let's not toil under any illusion that the Tigers have just infused their top ten prospect list with a couple new members. You know such thoughts are squashed when the GM who is acquiring you, in this case Dombrowski, refers to the players acquired as "fringe-type prospects" on the day of the deal.
Kevin Eichhorn was a third-round high school pick back in the 2008 draft, who received a $500,000 bonus. The right-hander has spent the majority of his young career in the Arizona Summer League, the equivalent of the GCL. Last season, he pitched 74.2 innings there, striking out 71, walking 15 and giving up 12 home runs.
Those certainly aren't bad results, but he was 20 years old and pitching in rookie ball. Of course, that's not the whole story. He only pitched 18.2 innings in his first two seasons as a pro. He was a fairly late sign in 2008 and then picked up just 16 innings in 2009 after losing most of the season to a Tommy John surgery. That's probably a big part of why he's fallen quite a ways as a prospect after showing up on Baseball America's Top Ten Diamondbacks Prospects list in 2009.
He's not without his perks, though. The Tigers seem to enjoy players from big league families and his father, Mark, was a big league reliever. His name might ring a bell for Tiger fans who hated the Blue Jays like I did back in the 80s. There are legacy draft picks, but there are no legacy big leaguers.
For that reason, we'll turn to Mark Anderson's abbreviated assessment of Eichhorn (via Twitter): "...fringy right-hander with good makeup, mound presence, and he projects for good command. [Fastball] mostly 87-89 [mph], touches 91". Back in 2009, he was also throwing a curve and a change, but I don't know whether those pitches survived or suffered as a result of his surgery.
The other pitcher is Ryan Robowski. Robowski was the Diamondbacks' 16th pick in the 2009 draft. He's a left-handed reliever out of Ohio Dominican who threw 54 innings at Hi A Visalia last season. He was roughed up to the tune of 69 hits, 5 homers, 16 walks and 51 strikeouts, but that league is a notoriously difficult environment for pitchers.
Mark Anderson's tweet about Robowski had him as "a sinker-slider type lefty reliever, with solid stuff. Fringy-[average] to [average fastball], slider flashes average, more a LOOGY type." (Yes, I realize I edited in for basic abbreviations but left LOOGY alone.) So even though Robowski is a long way from the majors for a soon-to-be 23-year-old and lacks Eichhorn's pedigree or prestigious draft status, his role as a lefty reliever will probably afford him opportunities to show what he can do.
Frankly, if the Tigers get a single big league inning out of one of these guys, they've scored a bit of a coup here. Consider back when the Tigers were trading FOR Galarraga after he had been bumped from the Rangers' 40-man roster. All they had to give up was low-level outfielder, Michael Hernandez, who was a non-drafted free agent and never even played for the Rangers. This kind of deal - working out a trade after designating a player for assignment - is seldom about getting big league talent in return. The Tigers should be happy they cleared their books of some financial obligations and found a good home for a classy player.